Analysis: What do the Chicago Bears offensive hires mean for the quarterback decision?

CHICAGO, Ill. - Welcome to the Chicago Bears, Shane Waldron and Kerry Joseph.

Your task is simple: form a successful and winning quarterback for a franchise that has never had one.

Behind door one is Justin Fields, undoubtedly the most athletic quarterback the Bears have ever had but the jury's out if he's reached his ceiling entering Year 4 of his NFL career.

Behind door two is, well, someone. That's to be determined. Whether that's Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels, if the Bears decide to go through that door it'll be one of those three.

As for Waldron and Joseph, it's hard to make heads or tails of what that decision is going to be based on their hiring. But, there's one takeaway that looms large.

Whatever the Bears decide to do, they're handing the keys to Waldron and Joseph.

Waldron turned Geno Smith, a career journeyman who struggled to live up to his second-round billing in New York as Jet, into a playoff quarterback. Not only that, but a quarterback who threw for 4,200 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Not to beleaguer a point here, but that would statistically be the best season a Bears quarterback has ever had.

The point remains that Waldron can work with quarterbacks, especially if you consider the work the two did with Drew Lock when he filled in for an injured Smith. Joseph was right there with him in Seattle working with Smith. The two have past NFL experience in producing successful quarterbacks.

<div>LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 05: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears gestures after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Washington Commanders;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Washington Commanders</a> at FedExField on October 05, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)</div>

That experience is a complete heel turn from Eberflus's first hire. Former offensive coordinator Luke Getsy had no prior offensive coordinator experience at the NFL level, and that experiment ended after two seasons.

Of course, this season is pivotal for Eberflus. Going from 3-14 in his first season to 7-10 in Year 2 is progress, but the Bears elected to stay with Eberflus instead of going after Jim Harbaugh, Ben Johnson or Bill Belichick. With that decision comes expectations.

"We’re impatiently patient but we also understand the importance to build a champion, it does take some time," Bears CEO Kevin Warren said on Jan. 10. "I’m not saying a lot of time, but I strongly believe that going into this third year is going to be a critical time for us to take a major jump."

Eberflus will have to show more progress in Year 3. The natural order of progression is to finish with a winning record.

The Bears could have finished with a winning record in 2023 had they closed out wins over Denver, Cleveland and Detroit. These were all games the Bears led in the fourth quarter. That would have marked a 10-7 record and had the Bears in the heat for an NFC Wild Card berth.

The line in the sand could be drawn there: make the playoffs. That's why it makes sense Waldron and Joseph are here.

Waldron adjusted from Russell Wilson to Smith in his second year. Joseph assisted in getting Smith up to speed, too. They've proven they can do it one offseason.

If they can do it in one offseason, it's only fair to ask them to have the flexibility to do it with either Fields or a rookie quarterback.

That adjustability is exactly what Eberflus was looking for in his OC from the start.